(Benjamin Brink/The Oregonian) LC- The Oregonian

Portland, Oregon November A Cold and Rainy Day
Typical of Portland.

It is time to go home. I run to my car, unlocking it, hoping to not get totally wet as I open the door, hop in, dump the books I’m carrying into the front seat and slam the door shut. I want it all to be a fast and fluid motion so I can remain dry; I didn’t quite succeed.

I pull out into the slowly moving traffic. It’s 5:30 pm, the hour when everyone wants to get home. Everything around me is grey. The heavily falling rain creates a curtain that partially hides all so there is no color except that dismal grey.

I begin talking with God about the day: now is a good time for that. I have many things I want to discuss with Him, including Class material for different age groups at the church where I’m the newest staff member: Pastor of Education.. The responsibility is challenging – and I love the work.
However, at the moment, I’m ready to get to my small apartment, turn up the thermostat, get rid of these wet clothes, and get some coffee. Since I live alone, the evening meal is super simple.

As I drive, my mind moves to a city thousands of miles away on a different continent, where I’ve lived the past 20 years. The number of inhabitants is in the millions, rather than the hundreds of thousands in Portland, It rains hard in Belo Horizonte, but it is a warm rain, not cold like in Portland.
I start talking about it with the Lord, asking Him when I will get to go back to that city and the people I love.
I hear a voice. It is rarely I hear it: but when I do, I pay close attention!
“You will return, but you won’t be there permanently.”

I grip the steering wheel and manage to get out of the traffic and over to the curb, where I turn off the ignition, place my arms and head on the steering wheel – and sob.

“Lord, what is left? My husband’s unfaithfulness and his other children by another woman left me with no marriage and empty arms.”

“I thank You for caring for me. You are faithful – and show me Your love in so many ways! I remember how I fell down all those steps at the church, my arms loaded with a box of books, and I wasn’t hurt! That day, I was working late and the building was empty, I was able to get up from the bottom of that stairway, take some deep breaths, gather up all those books, and finish my tasks before going home. I didn’t even have bruises after that fall. (But I still remember how scared and thankful I was when I thought of all the “what if’s “)

“Father – I am going to tuck these words of Yours away in my mind and not be thinking of them. If that is Your will, You will show me when it’s the time and give me the strength I will need.”

I stopped sobbing, wiped my eyes, started the car, and edged into the traffic: doing what I told Him I would do.

Now – it is 2021 – 31 years after that night in Portland, OR.
Once again, I am in Portland. Although I don’t want to, I believe the time has come to pull out those words from long ago, pray about accepting their reality, and learn how to walk in them. Father, I will need Your help!


Voni's View

Life is interesting - and can be challenging. Voni shares with you her experiences

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